This post was co-written by Kati Pinkerton and Matt Kroneberger.
Political geography often influences transport choices with unequal weight. Though Tijuana and San Diego, my home town, form a single human megalopolis, the cities form two international political units. The San Diego trolley will take you to the border in San Ysidro, CA but no further. You have to get off, walk across the border, and use Mexico’s public transportation from there. Compare this to the E.U. where the Schengen borders are as porous and integrated as between those between American states. This may make sense from an I.R. perspective, but for land use and transport, the disjuncture in service is just silly.
At the other side of NAFTA, the Windsor, Canada to Detroit, MI bridge has caused more trouble than any common sense infrastructure project ever would from a mobility perspective. Indeed, the West Berlin/East Berlin border, separated by a certain wall, is perhaps history’s greatest lesson in disjoint urban connectivity. Along much of the former Berlin Wall, which stood between nation-states and political systems, now sit shiny glass buildings and parks. What does this teach us about connectivity.
In the age of globalization, connectivity will question of IR, what is the point of walls in the ground or in our minds?